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April 19, 2012

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April 16, 2012

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March 28, 2012

If You Don’t LinkedIn Now, You’ll Regret it Later

Linkedin_march2012_web“Let’s connect on LinkedIn” is a phrase often heard from speakers, leaders, and peers during networking events or work-related meetings. If you’ve never heard of LinkedIn or don’t see the point in having another online profile to update along with your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog profiles, you could be missing out on an opportunity to connect and market yourself in a network of more than 150 million professionals and recruiters.

LinkedIn is a business-related networking site for professionals in more than 200 countries to connect with others, build relationships, and learn from each other. To get started, LinkedIn has a great tutorial for college grads and beginners. If you’re already on LinkedIn, here’s how you can make the most out of your profile so you don’t get left behind.

Give and Receive Recommendations

A profile that has multiple recommendations from co-workers can carry a lot of weight. If you still have strong connections from your previous employment, ask some of your former co-workers or managers with LinkedIn accounts to write you a quick recommendation. Recruiters searching for candidates online take special note when someone is highly recommended by their peers.  Don’t forget to write some recommendations to others you have worked with who you think have done an exceptional job.

It’s All About Who You Know

The biggest feature LinkedIn has to offer is giving you the ability to foster your professional networks and keep in touch with those who might help you find a job. It’s not a race to see how many connections you can get or to instantly connect with a decision maker you’ve never met before in hopes of getting a foot in the door. Connect with those you have already met in real life and nurture those relationships. Send a congratulatory note if they win an award, ask a question, or just comment on their update or share an interesting article. You never know when those contacts will think of you when opportunity comes.

If you really would like to connect with someone who is connected to someone in your network, LinkedIn offers a “Get Connected Through a Connection” link that will send a note to your contact asking to introduce you to the person of interest. If approved, you can send that person a note.

They’ve Got Questions, You’ve Got Answers

LinkedIn Answers is an interesting feature on the site for users to ask and answer questions on specific subject matters from personal finance to technology. Browse through the different sections and find a thread that matches your job skills and start answering questions. If your answers are chosen, it’ll be showcased on your profile and you’ll be listed as an expert. The more you answer, the higher you’ll be on the expert list. By demonstrating your expertise on LinkedIn you earn recognition that helps you build your credibility.

LinkedIn’s Special Uses

There are several features on LinkedIn that can help you in your job search. LinkedIn Jobs has thousands of job postings for several industries. Most of the time, you don’t have to upload a résumé or cover letter. You generally answer a few questions along with your profile. That’s why it’s important to have recommendations, a detailed work history, expertise, and a strong network to help you stand out.

You can also follow companies and receive updates on job openings, staff changes, and general news updates. If you’re interested in working for a specific organization, you can stay up to date with the latest details. There are also more than 500,000 groups for you to join. Look for professional societies and groups that are relevant in your industry and get involved. The more active you are, the better off you’ll be.

Relevant companies like Ebay, Microsoft, Netflix, and Target have used LinkedIn to recruit employees. More and more employers are sending recruiters to look for passive candidates. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to keep in touch with fellow workers and market yourself to find a job. Have you landed a job with LinkedIn? Share in the comments below.

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March 26, 2012

Own Up to Your Mistake

Ownup_march2012_webHas anyone ever told you that if you aren’t making mistakes at work you probably aren’t blazing any new trails either? While you shouldn’t throw caution to the wind in the effort of progress, there is a chance that no matter how prepared and organized you try to be you’re going to make a mistake at work. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day or your career. You just need to handle it properly.

Be honest and quick.

Nothing good will come from covering up your mistake, so it’s best to admit the error as soon as possible. And, unless running around screaming about the problem will save lives or dollars, you need to alert your manager and those impacted in a cool, calm, and collected manner. Depending on the timeliness of the error you may be able to schedule a meeting with everyone in a few hours or you may need to circle up in the next 15 minutes. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, try not to interrupt other meetings, it can just create more chaos

It’s important to remember that you need to admit your mistake and provide some explanation as to why it occurred. Clearly explain what happened and providing any additional support, research, or correspondence to clarify the mistake is a good first step in communicating the situation. Questions will arise around your mistake, so remember to answer honestly and, if you don’t know the answer, resist the urge to make something up. It’s better to say you don’t know rather than to lie. Now is not the time to lay blame elsewhere or dwell on elements outside of your control.

Have a solution prepared.

Be ready to move forward with a proposed solution. When you’re focusing on calmly presenting your mistake, take a moment to think through the problem you’ve created and what solutions you can offer. If you have time, check into details like availability times of others you may need to inform after you’ve discussed the problem with your manager, any expenses that may arise from the error, or past protocol if this error has occurred at the company before. Don’t stall gathering information and solutions, but try to be as prepared as possible so that you can have a productive discussion on a solution. Spending a few extra minutes to get answers to the questions you know your boss will ask is better than rushing ahead and having to go back in a second time with the answers.

The first steps you can take to rebuild trust within your workplace after a mistake is handling the situation professionally. As you’d expect, trying to cover up your mistake or redirecting blame will not serve you well. Do you have any examples to share on effectively moving forward after a mistake?

 

By Rachel Rudisill

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March 23, 2012

How to Knock ‘em Dead With Your Business Card

Businesscard_march2012_webMany people see business cards as a tool used by executives and business owners who want you to remember their company when you need to do business with them. But, truth be told, business cards are also great way to promote your personal brand by having others remember you when they learn of job openings.

Business cards can be a useful addition to your arsenal of job-seeking tools helping get your information to the right people no matter where you are. They are great for networking and help you appear more prepared and professional when talking to others in your field. But, where do you start? What should be included on the card? With these easy steps, you’ll be able to make and use a polished, professional-looking business card that will help you wow whoever you give it to.

Chose the Content and Tagline

Your contact information is one of the most important things to put on the card. Generally, the easiest way to contact a person is through their phone number and email address. Try to keep it to the number and email, but if there is a method you use more often, use your best judgment before including them. Try avoiding addresses, job experience, or multiple phone lines.

Consider including links to your relevant, work-related social media profiles like Twitter or LinkedIn. If you have a website or blog about your work or the industry you work in, consider including those as well. To help you be more memorable, try including a tag line under your name, like a quote or slogan that describes you or your work, an image, or a logo.

Choose the Design

The layout, colors, and overall design of your card should reflect your personality, work, and overall image. If you want the loudest, most colorful, or most unique business card anyone has ever seen, you should have the demeanor to match.  Business cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Play around with the options and use your best judgment to find a look that stands out, but isn’t distracting. Paper choice is also important. If the card stock is too thin, it cheapens your image. There are a variety of textures, finishes, and weights in paper.

Budget is also something to consider. The more complicated or colorful your card is, the more expensive it is to print. If you have the money to spend or have connections, you can work with a graphic designer to create a customized look for your card. If that isn’t an option, there are a variety of online printers for custom cards like VistaPrint, Moo, or 99 Designs that range in price and customizability.

Choose the Time

Business cards are most useful at networking events or career fairs. When attending these functions, always bring more than you think you’ll need. Also, carry them around wherever you go. You never know what could happen, and you’ll need to have one ready at all times. Nothing can hurt your image more than handing someone a beat up business card. Consider getting a special holder to keep them from getting bent or smudged in your wallet or purse. And, make sure cards aren’t bunched in your purse or stuck in a notebook so that finding one isn’t a search and rescue mission.

Use your best judgment when giving people your card. Practice good etiquette and don’t bombard every person you meet with your card. Let it come up in natural conversation or wait until the end and give them one if you feel like they can be a viable contact.

Handing out business cards can greatly increase your chances of getting your name out and help others remember you longer, just by what’s printed on a small piece of paper. How have business cards influenced you? Share with us some of your favorite business card ideas in the comments below.

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March 19, 2012

4 Myths That Could Harm Your Job Search

Myths_march2012_webThroughout your job search, you’ve probably been given several nuggets of advice from research, friends and family, or expert opinions. While there are best practices when it comes to finding a job, many people have their own way, or style, of doing things. But over the years, some aspects of the job search have become assumed taboos in the job market.

There are certain actions that many job seekers believe will knock them out of the running. But little do they know, these things are not only acceptable, professional actions, but they are also what could make you stand out among your competition. Here are some common job seeking myths that could be holding back your job search.

Myth #1: Companies aren’t hiring during the summer or in December.

It’s true that hiring does pick up in the fall as most employers hammer out their next year’s budget and incorporate new hires, but giving up during the summer months could be a missed opportunity. The summer months are generally more of a relaxed time with fewer big projects and deadlines, which makes employers and other workers easier to approach.

In December, not only are employers still looking for help to bring in the new year, but workers are also in a more festive mood, which may give you more opportunities to network. They will be more relaxed and easier to talk to so you can connect with more people, which could result in more leads.

Myth #2: Don’t take notes in an interview.

You may think it looks rude to be writing down notes when you should be listening to the interviewer speak, but it’s impossible to remember everything without a photographic memory. If you’re in doubt, ask the interviewer if he or she minds you taking notes during the interview. There’s a lot to process and it can be in your best interest to take notes. Just remember to use abbreviations or short hand when applicable so that not taking doesn’t detract from the conversation.

Myth #3: Keep your résumé to one page.

The only time you should really try to keep your résumé at one page is when you’ve just graduated from college or are first starting out in the job market. Having a two or even three page résumé might not necessarily keep you out of the running for a job, just as long as you put your most relevant information at the beginning. Hiring managers take seconds to scan a résumé before keeping it or discarding it.

Myth #4: If interviewed by multiple people, you only need to send a thank-you note to your potential manager.

If several people took the time out of their busy schedule to help interview you, they deserve some recognition. Try to ask everybody you interviewed with for their business card and make an extra effort to let them know you appreciate their time.

Don’t let the stigma of hearsay stunt your job search. What works for some may not work for others. We are all a little different and have to find what works best for us. What are some job tips you’ve heard that turned out to be myths in the end?

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March 16, 2012

If You Don’t Follow Up Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Pest_march2012_webWhen it comes to following up after interviews, there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Most people know the basics like sending a thank-you note and calling to check on the hiring process, but here are three new tips to stand out, in a good way, with your interview follow up.

1.  Ensure appropriate follow up.

This part of the application process begins during your interview. Be ready to take notes during the interview and ask specific questions about who is involved in the hiring process, what the steps are in obtaining a position, and the timeline looks. Make sure your follow up is in alignment with their process. Also, if during the interview you’re asked to take some additional steps in the application process, like taking a personality test, completing a drug-screening, or providing work samples, make sure you write down when you’re expected to do that by and how you are to touch base once that is completed. Often an interviewer will ask for more information on part of your work history or for you to provide a list of references. And sometimes, you’ll be asked to complete a task as part of the interview process. Your ability to complete the tasks as requested is also part of your interview, so take it as seriously as the face-to-face interview. Not following up as instructed could make the interviewer question your interest in the position and your ability to follow through.

 2.  Always add value when you follow up.

Instead of just sending a thank you note, include a highlight of what interested you most about the position and what you found exciting about the company. Share a thought of how you saw yourself working in the role. For example, if it’s a job in engineering, share specifics on design and technology developments you recently read about that you think would be applicable. Another way to provide value is to invite the interviewer to join you for an upcoming networking or industry trade event. If you’re active in a professional association, include something like, “I hope to see you next month at the downtown Society of Human Resource Management meeting. I’m excited to hear from the guest speaker on leadership traits and time management styles.” It’s always good to reinforce your personal professional development plan and encourage further networking.

  3. Network for the long term.

No doubt in your job search you’ll go on several interviews before the right job opportunity comes along. Think of the interview process as a way to build your network for two reasons. First, while you may not get the job you applied for, other openings may come up in the future that drive the company to return to their pool of already-interviewed candidates. Second, the person you interview with may move on to another opportunity and you could find yourself working with them somewhere else or interviewing with them again. A few ways to make connections with individuals you interview with include sending a LinkedIn connection request, keeping a personal file of names and contact information of everyone you’ve interviewed with, and following up with contacts after you’ve found a job. Once you’ve landed a new job, it is appropriate to send out an email or LinkedIn message letting people you interviewed with know where you’ve accepted a position and what your new role is. Be sure and thank them again for the time they spent with you. Additionally, if you hear that a company you interviewed with celebrates a milestone or receives an award, especially specific to your industry, make sure to reach out again to congratulate them.

Getting the interview is your opportunity to connect and shine, and following up after the interview is your opportunity to show your diligence and communication skills. In your career development, always be thinking of ways you can add value to other professionals, create a larger network, and develop your professional reputation.

What are some unique ways you’ve followed up after an interview?

 

 

By Rachel Rudisill

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March 15, 2012

Safety Squeeze - Identify and Avoid Pinch Points

Pinchpoint_march2012_webWith St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, most people will be sporting their favorite green attire to avoid getting pinched on March 17. To most of us, a pinch isn’t taken very seriously. We remember pinching the cute girl or boy growing up in school, getting our cheeks pinched by our relatives who came from out of town, or getting a “pinch to grow an inch” during a birthday celebration.

But, for many of those working today, getting pinched can become very serious injuries called pinch-points. A pinch-point is when a person or part of a person’s body is caught between moving parts of a machine, between the moving and stationary parts of a machine, or between material and any part of the machine. With these easy guides, you can know what a pinch-point is and how to keep them from happening.

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Pinch

Pinch-points can be as small as a pair of pliers slipping and pinching a hand causing a blood blister, to being crushed against a wall by a truck that was backing up. This hazard can happen at any time at the workplace.

A pinch-point injury on the job can be seriously disabling, even causing amputation or death. A serious pinch point injury can put a heavy emotional and financial burden on you or your family. If there is a place where equipment is transmitting energy, there is a potential pinch-point danger with that equipment.

There’s No Easy Way Out

Often pinch-point injuries are the result of improperly trained workers who don’t realize the dangers of machinery, or take shortcuts to get the work done more quickly. Work can be stressful with deadlines and training new people, but it’s important to keep in mind the safety rules and mechanisms that were put in place to keep you safe. Ignoring those procedures can put you at risk and cause more work for everyone else. 

Never perform a task without proper training. It’s not uncommon for managers to place workers in front of a machine without proper training and expect them to perform their job, but it is up to the worker, for the sake of their health and life, to not work on equipment that they haven’t been properly trained for. The consequences could be serious.

Keep Your Guard Up

Pinch-point conditions are also one of the most difficult hazards to guard against. Improperly guarded punch presses, oscillating or reciprocating parts, heavy steel doors, heavy covers, and belt conveyors can inflict serious injuries.

Many pinch-point injuries occur when a ma­chine is stopped temporarily for service or cleaning, so it’s extremely important to follow necessary procedures for lockout and tagout (LOTO). Workers can follow guard policies for when the machine is running, but when it’s stopped and the guard is removed, if the equip­ment is not de-energized, a worker is not safe.

A little thought will bring to mind the many pinch points in your workplace. Take some time to review your work station and those around you to see if there could be potential pinch-point dangers. You could spare an injury, even your own.

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March 09, 2012

How to Beat the Fear of Long-Term Unemployment

Longunemployed_march2012_webThere still seems to be a stigma in today’s society about those who have been unemployed for more than a few months. It’s hard for some to understand how anyone could fail to find a job for more than a year without being lazy or unreliable.  But, according to Business Insider, an online source of financial, media, and tech news for businesses, nearly four million American job seekers have been unemployed for more than a year, not including the millions of other individuals who gave up the job search, retired, or took part-time jobs.

Long-term unemployment is something millions of Americans still struggle with. Not only is it financially, emotionally, and physically straining, but it’s also psychologically taxing while dealing with the notion that your skills, talents, and attitudes aren’t good enough. It can be a difficult time in anyone’s life when going several months without work, but there are means to cope. Here are four ways to manage long term unemployment.

Meditate

Meditation doesn’t have to be a religious or spiritual experience, and there are several methods and activities to help you lower stress and anxiety. If you let the tension of unemployment affect your life, you will start making rash decisions instead of making clear, educated decisions.

Whether it’s going out to a lake for fishing or spending an hour alone with good music and a book, there are things you can do that will be beneficial to your mental and physical health.  It can be difficult keeping a positive attitude during such a long transitional period, but taking time for yourself can go a long way to keep that positive feeling going forward.

Build Family Bonds

Game designer and president of Ozark Softscape, Inc., Dani Buten Berry, said, “No one on their death bed ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time at work.’” Use your time not devoted to the office to build better relationships with loved ones. Not only can family be a great networking avenue, but they can also be a strong support tool for you to lean on during the most difficult times of unemployment. And if you can help out the elderly, relatives, or care for children, it can bring a sense of purpose and routine to your day.

Join Social Clubs

Join something and really get involved. It could be a charitable organization like United Way, civic groups like the Kiwanis, or local choir, sports, or hobby groups. Just as long as you get active. Having a social footing outside of work is important support against the stress and strain of unemployment. When unemployed, it’s important to keep a sense of purpose and willfulness that you may have previously found in your job. Long-lasting stability in life comes from the relationships you make that serve something bigger or serve a bigger cause. Find your place in a local organization of some kind.

Do Work

Just because you aren’t being paid for a job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working. Start a project that could boost your résumé. Use your talents to help local charities fill needs. It could be something built in your garage, or a project that can help improve your community. Research local businesses and see if you can offer pro bono freelance work. You may be surprised at how many businesses will jump at the offer for free help.

Everyone faces tough times at some point in their lives. Even if you are dealing with long-term unemployment, it doesn’t mean you have to be in despair about the situation. If you follow these helpful hints on how to cope, it will only help your job search.

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March 07, 2012

Associate Spotlight: James Pheonix

James Pheonix - Jan 2012 Assoc of month 1Every month, Movin’ On Up recognizes Express Employment Professionals’ associates who have been recommended by one of our offices as outstanding workers, and we would like to give credit where credit is due. Express employed more than 335,000 workers in the United States and Canada in 2011, and each one of them has a story to tell.

As we continue our series on Express’ associate spotlight, we look for certain associates who go above and beyond the call of duty. Not just in their work schedule or duties, but in their attitude, spirit, and dedication.

Express takes pride in the accomplishments of those individuals who come to us for work. Without the skills and talents our associates provide to employers, Express wouldn’t be what it is today. Our newest associate spotlight is a great example of the kind of spirit and effectiveness Express Employment Professionals demonstrates with everyone we work with.

James Pheonix

Our associate spotlight today features James Pheonix. James has been with the Springfield, IL, Express office since March 2008 and has worked 24 assignments. He started his career with Express working for a local pool company. His talent and attitude impressed the company and they have asked him to return to work every summer for the past four years.

Recently, the Springfield, IL, office sent James to work for a new client. He became a valuable asset to the client, and they now want to employ James every winter while he isn’t working for the pool company in the summer.  And, according to the local office records, James has never called-in absent from work.

We love hearing stories about the determination and quality work Express associates demonstrate every day.  James is just one example of thousands of Express associates who achieve success through their strong talent and resolve. If you’re searching for a job, consider working with a staffing agency like Express. More and more employers are relying heavily on staffing companies to fill open positions before hiring them on as full-time employees.

If you’re an Express associate and know a fellow associate who would be a great candidate for our associate spotlight, let your Express office know. If you have an Express associate you’d like to feature on Movin’ On Up, let us know in the comments below.

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